In case you’re just catching up with us, the Villanova Wildcats scored a big recruiting win on Friday. Top 100 2018 recruit Cole Swider committed to the Wildcats, giving head coach Jay Wright his second commit for 2018 to go along with shooting guard Brandon Slater. The commitment of Swider gave ‘Nova a huge W over fellow Big East peer Xavier as well as Syracuse and, maybe more importantly, Duke, who was thought to be a prime contender for Swider’s services.
The recruiting win for ‘Nova is certainly nothing to blow smoke at. Duke is a blue-blood in college basketball, and while the ‘Cats are no slouches themselves (they have won a National Championship more recently than Duke has) the Blue Devils bring in high-level, blue-chip recruits with relative ease. Make no mistake: There’s definitely some celebration on The Main Line on Friday.
So now, we pivot forward. No, not towards video. Rather, to what comes next for Villanova for their 2018 class.
A simple look at their targets for the class reveals a bit of a common thread. None of them, for the time being, are listed as power forwards or centers. ‘Nova, for the moment at least, appears set on having the guys they have down low stay there. It’s definitely easy to say that when you have a five-star in Omari Spellman in the mix to go along with Dylan Painter, Tim Delaney who are already in tow and 2017 recruit Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree coming along for the ride as well. With Eric Paschall and Mikal Bridges, both of whom stand at 6-foot-7, still with eligibility, ‘Nova definitely has length on their side for the near and distant future.
Guards and small forwards appear to be their wave right now. They’ve already got one in the aforementioned Slater, so now it’s time to find someone to pair him up with. That would seem to make sense given the composition of their roster. Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo and Collin Gillespie are currently locked in as players who are expected to be around in the 2018 season. Phil Booth is a bit of an interesting case himself, as his health may (or may not) grant him extra eligibility. Should it not, then ‘Nova right now is projected to have just four guards going into 2018. That is probably not going to hold.
The top prospect that ‘Nova is pursuing is Jahvon Quinerly. Quinerly is a five-star point guard who ranks 20th overall in America, third in the booming state of New Jersey and fifth at his position. The Jersey City prospect is being chased by Sean Miller and the Arizona Wildcats, who seem to be the favorites for his services if you’re into the whole Crystal Ball thing (which, hey, if you followed the BECB Twitter account last night, it certainly gave way to the belief that Swider was going to ‘Nova). He took a visit to UofA back on June 24, but Quinerly still has yet to decide on his choice even after that trip to Tucson, leaving the game open right now for the highly touted point guard. And hey, if you look at the Crystal Ball, the 10 percent belongs to...
If it doesn’t work out for Quinerly, ‘Nova still has some options on the board. Four-star Elijah Weaver comes to mind as somebody who Wright could possibly corral. Weaver, a native of Oldsmar, Florida, is a Top 40 recruit in 2018, ranking 37th overall in America. He checks in ninth among point guards, just making the Top 10, standing ahead of St. Louis’ Courtney Ramey and ranks sixth in the state of Florida. The last reported contact that anyone had with Weaver was back on December 22, but back on April 6, he named his Top 12 and ‘Nova remained in the mix. For whatever it’s worth, plenty of experts think he’s headed to The Main Line, but time will certainly tell.
David Duke’s another guard that ‘Nova could potentially go after for 2018 as well. Duke is a Top 100 recruit, ranking 68th in the country, but is pretty richly talented as well.
As far as small forwards go, Cam Reddish is the biggest fish out there, and he did include Villanova in a recent cutdown. They’ll have to compete with plenty of high-major powerhouses like Duke and Kentucky if they want to grab Reddish, but hey, it’s not like they haven’t had to go to these lengths before. Nate Laszewski is also on their board, as is Ryan Boyce.
In all, Villanova definitely appears to have a guard-heavy and oriented plan ready for whatever comes next after Swider’s commitment. As for the rest of the Big East? Well, it’s the same as it ever was. The Wildcats don’t appear to be going away any time soon, and don’t appear satisfied with recent run of success, either. It’ll take quite the effort to dethrone ‘Nova off their mantle, and Swider’s commitment on Friday gives the indication that muscling that kind of effort will take serious work.